A new high-speed rail network between Birmingham and London will help to alleviate the economic north-south divide, the Prime Minister has said.
David Cameron said the £30 billion train line linking Birmingham to London would spread the economic wealth concentrated in the South East.
During Prime Minister's question time, he told the Commons: "For 50 years we have been trying to deal with the north-south divide, we have been trying to have a more effective regional policy.
"I do believe that high-speed rail has got a really effective role to play in bringing our country closer together and spreading economic benefit throughout all of our country."
The £30 billion plan will initially link London to Birmingham, with 250mph trains taking as little as half an hour to travel between the two cities. The line could then be extended northwards with two forks running up either side of the Pennines.
The west-sided fork would go to Manchester, with the second extension passing through the East Midlands to Sheffield and Leeds. They would then link with existing routes to Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The first stage of the route will not be completed before 2026 at the earliest and will see potentially 440 homes demolished. Of the homes threatened with demolition, 247 would be in the Euston area but many of the other areas affected include Tory heartlands just north of London.
The Prime Minister made his comments as he responded to a question from Conservative Andrea Leadsom, whose constituency of South Northamptonshire will be potentially affected by the new route.
She said: "Are you aware of the concerns of many people at reports in the Press that you plan to support high-speed rail regardless of the consultation next year?
"Would you spread a bit of Christmas cheer by reassuring my constituents that you will keep an open mind and you will not be railroading (these proposals) through."
Mr Cameron said there would be a "proper consultation" before lending his support to high speed rail.
Running from Euston in London, work would start in 2017, cost between £15.8 billion and £17.4 billion and reduce the journey time between the UK's two biggest cities to between 30 and 50 minutes.
Journey times between London and Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield would come down from around two hours 10 minutes now to 75 minutes when the new network is in place. London to Glasgow and Edinburgh journey times would be reduced to just three and a half hours.